Leaders and Enders
While sewing a quilt seems like such a simple thing I have mental issues about waste. I don’t like wasting thread between bits of sewing, so I employ a process described by a dear friend, Bonnie Hunter, which she calls leaders/enders. Bonnie is the Queen of efficiency and makes more quilts than anyone can imagine. You can check out what she does on her website and can find a link to her blog there.
Bonnie is amazing and does quilt retreats for guilds and travels all over showing people her methods, all the while still managing to produce an unbelievable amount of quilts, get books published and sew up fabric that people who love her mail to her.
I have followed her progress for years by looking at her website on occasion, and when I needed to know a method short cut or the math for sizing setting triangles I would just automatically go to her website and find my answer. Always while there I would check to see if she had any new patterns or to see what she had in progress. Her site is always an inspiration.
One of the things that Bonnie prescribed was having a second project going and as you stopped at the end of a seam on your current project, you would sew two pieces of fabric together from this second project and keep those little pieces in their container. As you work on a project and sew off between seams with the leader/enders, you first get parts of, then blocks to a whole ‘nother project and in a year’s time of sewing quilt tops, I could manage to get at least two “free” quilts this way. The little blocks keep you from having long threads that you have to cut off as you sew. I’m sure my explanation is confusing as words, so I have pictures.
The hard part of this prescription for not wasting bits of thread means you have to be organized enough to actually have a second project thought up, planned out and cut and ready to sew. I’m not as organized as Bonnie and I don’t have so many sizes of scraps available to pull from but I have made my own method to please my crazy brain. What I end up with for my leaders/enders projects has fondly become what another friend calls Quilt in a Box.
I can plan out a quilt and cut all the fabric for it and never stress over my choices because it is a PROJECT and it is READY TO GO! I have a nice stash of quilts in boxes on the shelves under my ironing board. I am ready!